After helping more than half of its tenants with hundreds of millions of dollars in rent relief, the Gural Family is looking to inspire them – and the rest of New York – to keep the faith.
Gural Family Properties Real Estate (GFPRE), led by chairman Jeffrey Gural, co-chief executive officers Eric Gural and Brian Steinwurtzel, principal Jane Gural-Senders and general counsel AnnyRose Pahl – commissioned artist Anthony Russo to create a series of murals under the #GFPRECares slogan as the city slowly emerges from the COVID pandemic.
“The #GFPRECARES campaign is our way of helping to keep New Yorkers feeling positive about the city—and its future—as we carefully make our way past the pandemic towards a brighter and more positive future for all,” said Eric Gural.
Russo -a freelance illustrator whose clients include The New York Times, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Harper Collins – has created a series of five original murals to be displayed at three GFPRE-owned properties across Manhattan, including 10 Astor Pl., 200 Varick St. and 80 Eighth Avenue.
“We wanted to celebrate the beginning of New York’s gradual return from the worst days of the pandemic by bringing some positivity and inspiration directly to the streets,” said Jeffrey Gural.
“Anthony’s poignant, yet uplifting illustrations perfectly express the importance of empathy, connectivity and creativity that make New York the greatest city on Earth. More importantly, the work also recognizes that while we’re not out of the woods yet—and that we need to continue to look out for and take care of one another.”
The illustrations, which feature encouraging phrases such as, “We rise by lifting others,” “Be kind, it powers the world,” “If you light the lamp for somebody it will brighten your path,” “Stop and contemplate just how amazing life is,” and, “Look out for each other, it’s important,” were inspired by the positivity, energy and optimism powering the city’s ongoing recovery, according to Russo.
“The theme of the illustrations revolves around hope, though it was important to simultaneously recognize the challenges we’ve faced over the past year and a half. This has been a major event in everyone’s lives,” said the artist.
“I wanted to provide passersby with encouragement and positivity, both in the drawings but also in the phrases used in each mural. My hope is that people will see the works and feel encouraged as we continue to move forward.”
In addition to the oversized window murals, more than 100 of GFPRE’s retail tenants will display large posters containing information about the campaign in their storefront windows to create additional awareness of the unique art. Passersby are encouraged to participate on social media by tagging images of Russo’s work with the hashtag #GFPRECARES.
The campaign comes after GFPRE assisted more than half of its 2,500-plus office and retail tenants in 2020 by providing rent relief worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
“As a landlord, GFPRE did its best to assist its tenants throughout the pandemic. We understood that the City would be a very different place to come back to if everyone went out of business,” said Eric Gural.
“It was about doing the right thing when businesses needed it most,” added Jeff Gural. “The problems faced by these businesses were a direct result of the pandemic, not due to any failure on their part. We knew we had to step in and help them stay in business.
Having experienced several sharp downturns over the years, we understood that it’s always better to help people in their time of need. The result is that many of our tenants were able to pull through, which is better than seeing scores of empty office and retail spaces sitting vacant when people come back to work.”
Russo’s illustrations will remain on display through the Fall.